Raboteau, Emily

views updated

Raboteau, Emily

PERSONAL: Female. Education: New York University, M.F.A.

ADDRESSES: Home—Brooklyn, NY. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Henry Holt & Company, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Educator and writer. City College of the City University of New York, assistant professor of English.

AWARDS, HONORS: Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction, Chicago Tribune; Pushcart Prize; New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship; National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship.


The Professor's Daughter (novel), Henry Holt (New York, NY), 2005.

Short stories have appeared in anthologies, including Best American Short Stories 2003, and in periodicals, including Gettysburg Review, StoryQuarterly, Callaloo, Missouri Review, and Tin House.

WORK IN PROGRESS: A children's book titled The Bird Who Swallowed the Moon and an adaptation of the Euripides' tragedy Iphigenia at Aulis.

SIDELIGHTS: In her novel The Professor's Daughter Emily Raboteau draws from her own life as the daughter of a college professor and the product of an interracial marriage. Nevertheless, writing in Black Issues Book Review, the author noted: "My book is not a memoir." The author went on to comment, "I began writing it when I was very young, too young to know how to write about anything else. It's not hard to see why a reader might mistake the main character for me."

The novel tells the story of Emma Boudreaux and her family's history dating back to her grandfather, who was brutally hanged. Her father, Professor Bernard Boudreaux, Junior, or BJ, grew up poor and went on to marry a white woman and become the first black dean at Princeton University's Graduate School of Arts and Science. Emma, one of the story's narrators, also delves into her feelings about her brother, Bernie, who becomes disfigured and brain dead due to an accident. Emma has just entered college but is experiencing inner turmoil, culminating in her leaving school after being jilted by her lover. She goes to New York, where she is accosted on 9/11 because she looks like an Arab. She eventually ends up in Brazil, where her mixed racial background goes unnoticed, thus offering her the opportunity to create a new life.

Writing in Booklist, Vanessa Bush called The Professor's Daughter a "complex look at race and identity." A Kirkus Reviews contributor found the story about "BJ's anguish and isolation" the best part of the novel, which the reviewer went on to call "an impassioned, poetic work." Denolyn Carroll, writing in Black Issues Book Review, commented that the book is an "engaging debut novel" that goes "beyond … the biracial context to the human need for visibility and unconditional love and acceptance." In School Library Journal, Susanne Bardelson wrote that "readers will enjoy the history woven into the superb storytelling."



Black Issues Book Review, March-April, Denolyn Carroll, 2005, review of The Professor's Daughter, p. 48; July-August, 2005, Emily Raboteau, "What Is "real?" The Author of The Professor's Daughter Spends a Lot of Time Explaining That Her Novel Isn't Autobiography," p. 72.

Booklist, February 1, 2005, Vanessa Bush, review of The Professor's Daughter, p. 937.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2004, review of The Professor's Daughter, p. 1111.

Library Journal, February 15, 2005, Eleanor J. Bader, review of the The Professor's Daughter, p. 120.

O, March, 2005, review of The Professor's Daughter, p. 174.

Philadelphia Inquirer, June 15, 2005, Carlin Romano, review of The Professor's Daughter.

School Library Journal, September, 2005, Susanne Bardelson, review of The Professor's Daughter, p. 244.


Emily Raboteau Home Page, http://www.professordaughter.com (January 21, 2005).